Nov. 13, 2014
Anteaters 3 — Highlanders 0
With the home stretch looming in the 2014 women’s volleyball season, some teams begin to make that final push toward the postseason, while the ones who have all but been eliminated hope to play spoiler, which is exactly what the Highlanders hoped to do against the 4th place UCI Anteaters.
The beginning of the first set served as a microcosm of the Highlanders’ season up to this point, as UCI piled on seven of the first eight points to take a commanding lead. A late rally by the Highlanders narrowed the margin to three points at 20-17, but the Anteaters were able to close out the first set with a 25-19 victory.
At the start of the second set, both teams remained neck-and-neck in a tightly contested battle, with neither able to gain more than a two-point lead on the other until the Anteaters scored three straight to take a 10-7 lead. The largest lead of the set came when an Alex Gresham attack error opened up a 21-15 Anteater lead. UCR was able to rally and narrow the margin to 22-20 late in the set, but Irvine scored three of the last four points to earn a victory in the second set.
A Bri Holmes kill in the early stages of the third set gave the Highlanders a 4-3 lead and some hope for a comeback, but those plans were immediately quashed by the Anteaters, who scored seven of the next eight points en route to opening up a 10-5 lead. At this point, the wheels really began to come off for UCR, who were outscored 15-7 the rest of the way, resulting in the 11th instance in which the Highlanders have been swept this season.
Nov. 15, 2014
Titans 3 — Highlanders 0
Just two days removed from their defeat at the hands of the Anteaters, the Highlanders hoped to snap their winless streak against Cal State Fullerton in a battle between the two cellar-dwellers of the Big West.
UCR jumped out to a 7-4 lead early in the first set, but the Titans scored four of the next five and snatched an 11-9 advantage. The set remained closely contested until Fullerton pulled away with five straight points late in the set, giving them a 22-14 lead over UCR. The Highlanders were unable to recover, giving the Titans a 25-16 set victory.
The match’s second set proved to be an absolute nail-biter, with neither team able to gain more than a four-point lead at any point in the set. With the score tied at 23 apiece, a kill by Highlander Cristina Maietta and a service error by UCR evened the score at 24-24. A kill by Niki Withers and an attack error by the Highlanders ended the second set in favor of the Titans, 26-24.
UCR gained an early 3-2 lead in the third set, but it was again erased on a 4-0 run by the Titans. However, the Highlanders scored three straight of their own to even the score at 6-6. Both teams played each other closely throughout the rest of the set, but the Titans again came out on top 25-19, thanks to a 6-3 run at the end of the set.
With Saturday’s loss, the Highlanders now sport a 2-23 overall record, along with being winless in conference play (0-13). With just three matches left in the season, the Highlanders are set to play the first match of their two-game homestand against the Cal State Northridge Matadors on Thursday Nov. 20.